What is the #1 mistake of home sellers? It’s a problem so simple and so common, you almost don’t want to believe it’s so vitally important. In truth, it’s the most frequent miscalculation and the most poorly researched factor in the home sale.

Yet it’s also the thing that will turn buyers away faster than you can attract them, the thing that will keep them from calling you to ask questions, let alone schedule a home tour. And it’s the thing, in the long run, that will leave your home on the market longer than it should be, meaning you’ll be waiting, frustrated and, most of all, still the owner of the home you want to sell.

Essentially, the #1 mistake of home sellers all comes down to one word: price.

Here at the Buy Owner Blog, we’ve written about pricing your home before. It’s the kind of topic no seller wants to talk about because you’d like to think holding out or waiting for the right buyer will turn things around.

The truth is, you could be waiting for a long time. Home sales have been decreasing steadily, and if you don’t price your home accordingly, buyers won’t waste their time with your property.

How can you avoid making this huge mistake? How can you price your home accurately?

Step One: Compare.

It’s time to investigate. What are your neighbors getting for their homes, if they’re selling? You’ll want to look not just at asking prices (although you should consider those, aiming to be just slightly under the competition’s prices, if possible), but also selling prices. Within the last three months (six is too long), what sold and for how much? If the property that sold is similar to yours, you may be able to ask the same price.

What if your neighbors’ homes are very different? Location is always one of the biggest (and most uncontrollable) aspects of a property’s value. However, location being equal, neighborhood homes may differ drastically in price. Find out the details of other area properties and compare them to yours. Does your neighbor’s house have two more bedrooms and 1000 extra square feet? They your home probably should be priced lower.

Step Two: Pay Attention.

Stay aware of what’s happening in the real estate market, both through the news and resources like the Buy Owner Blog. Are mortgage rates improving? (Check out Guaranteed Rate for up-to-date numbers!) What are statistics saying about home sales? The more information you have, the more in control you will feel of the situation.

This is one area where you must take the time to become informed. You only get one chance to make a first impression on potential buyers, and you can’t afford to lose them.